his shadow

I’d been in Uganda for five days already when Rasmus walked out of Entebbe airport with his suitcase and into my over-excited arms. It had been five days of intense and wonderful conversation at the Amahoro gathering. And there was so much I had to tell him about, so much I wanted to share with him.

A week later, we were in Masaka, Uganda, spending time with the amazing staff and members at River of Life Church. One afternoon they were heading for the hospital with baskets of food to give out (hospitals just provide medical care, so you rely on your family for all other support while you’re in hospital) and pray with anyone who would like prayer.

It was an activity about a hundred miles out of our comfort zone. A different country, a different language, a hospital system we didn’t really understand and that was a little overwhelming to be in. Not to mention that we’re Danish and British, coming from Lutheran and Anglican denominations. There is very little in our upbringings that would make walking up to strangers and asking them if we could pray for them right then and there a normal activity.

But part of this trip was about saying yes to every opportunity and experience that came our way. So we said yes, and joined the small team headed to the hospital.

Not long after we’d arrived and started walking through the hospital, we gained an addition. A young boy started following us on our rounds. Not us – Rasmus. He became his shadow. As we made our way slowly through the wards – greeting, asking questions, handing out bread and bananas, praying – he was always there, just one metre behind Rasmus, silently watching everything he did.

In between wards, as we crossed the grass and sucked in fresh air and deep breaths for strength for the next ward, Rasmus would smile and joke with his new friend. No common language between them but they were friends now.

Through the children’s wards, the TB wards, the men’s ward, the ward for those with mental illness – he came with us.

Outside the last ward I took a photo of the two of them on my phone, and then showed it to him and he grinned a smile that filled up his whole face.

And my heart filled for this man I get to do life with, and his little side-kick. Sometimes the important moments are not about deep conversations or lives changed or people healed. Sometimes the most memorable moments are the small and seemingly insignificant ones: a silent boy and a shy smile, a shared experience. And a face we’ll not forget.